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Advancing Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture with Momentive's Soil Adjuvantsqrcode

May. 23, 2024

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May. 23, 2024

United States  United States


With global challenges, like climate change and soil degradation, posing significant threats to food security and environmental equilibrium, there's an urgent call for innovative and sustainable solutions to strengthen soil health and crop productivity. Regenerative Agriculture, an outcome-driven system that not only rejuvenates soil health, but also safeguards climate, water resources, and biodiversity, while enhancing productivity and profitability, has been gaining traction as a best practice grounded in its five principles – enhanced soil health, crop diversification, continuous living of plants, precise application of products, and livestock integration[1] – striving to cultivate holistic, interconnected systems that foster environmental resilience and agricultural success. At Momentive, through the development of innovative soil adjuvants, actively improving soil health and enabling precise application of agricultural treatments, we are advancing and enabling regenerative agriculture.

Soil adjuvants in farming and soil management

Enhanced soil health is integral to cultivating healthier plants, which exhibit greater resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses, reducing treatment necessity, thus minimizing pesticide and fertilizer use. Moreover, healthier crops show increased vigor, leading to higher yields with improved quality. In sustainable and regenerative agriculture, soil adjuvants play a pivotal role by boosting soil health, fostering plant growth, and mitigating environmental impact. These specialized products are designed to improve soil structure, combatting issues such as compaction and nutrient leaching, while also favoring nutrient availability, and optimizing water use. 

Introducing Silwet™ Power

Making waves in the agricultural industry, Silwet Power is a novel powder super-wetter soil adjuvant developed by Momentive. Emerging as an innovative product for growers looking to improve their regenerative farming practices, it helps manage the moisture profile and water distribution, facilitating the effective delivery of treatments into the soil.

Silwet Power improves water absorption efficiency in hard-to-wet soils by increasing infiltration, drainage, retention, and hydrophilicity, as it addresses challenges that powdered fertilizers and other agricultural soil inputs may face, such as low spreading, poor absorption, leaching, and run-off, thereby improving their performance and efficiency.

The typical benefits and performance of Silwet Power

Silwet Power can be used in a variety of agrochemical and biological formulations, as well as tank-mixes, to enhance soil structure, water retention, and crop performance while mitigating the risks of drought stress. By promoting uniform soil wetting, lateral flow of water and moisture retention, it facilitates soil-air exchange, nutrient uptake, and treatment efficacy (Figure 1). Silwet Power promotes optimal soil conditions for seed germination, plant growth, and microbial activity, while optimizing water use and reducing application frequency. Ultimately, it enhances nutrient absorption, contributing to the development of a better root system, enhanced plant vigor, and increased yield and crop quality.


Figure 1: Silwet Power promotes soil wetting uniformity, adjusting the flow of water for enhanced moisture retention, soil-air exchange, and nutrient uptake.

Silwet Power enhances moisture retention in soil

Farmers are increasingly pressured to optimize water use, particularly during periods of drought. Low atmospheric humidity, low soil organic matter content, soil texture, high temperatures, and abundant sunlight all contribute to increased moisture evaporation and crop water loss. Silwet Power significantly enhances water spreading and soil penetration, subsequently reducing water evaporation from the soil profile and conserving water. Additionally, it increases the bioavailability of nutrients and treatments near the plant roots for extended periods. 

Experimental results demonstrate that Silwet Power enhances water retention in the growth substrate (loamy sandy soil) compared to the untreated control. Additionally, the percentage of substrate moisture content (% SMC) in the presence of Silwet Power was higher compared to the control over the 8-day period (Figure 2). This shows that the beneficial interaction between Silwet Power, water and soil components can lead to water conservation, slowing soil profile dehydration, relieving localized dry spots, and increasing nutrient and treatment availability for both conventional and biological active ingredients. 


Figure 2: The experiment assessed the percentage of substrate moisture content (% SMC) under treatment with (a) Silwet Power and (b) a comparative liquid soil surfactant, Silwet™ 408, vs. the treatment without adjuvant (control) over an 8-day period. The substrate was a loamy sandy soil mixed with sharp sand (3:1 ratio). Adjuvants were applied to the substrate’s surface before saturating the substrate with water (T0).

The enhancement of soil moisture was further validated under field conditions for various soil types. This improvement is often visually noticeable, even to the naked eye, as demonstrated in Figure 3 with an onion field (Allium cepa) in India.


Figure 3: An illustrative example showcasing Silwet Power's impact on soil moisture in the field. Treatment (A) represents the control without adjuvant, while treatment (B) and (C) with Silwet Power at 5g/kg and 10g/kg of fertilizer, respectively, demonstrating visibly higher moisture levels 5 days post-application and irrigation.

Silwet Power improves seed emergence and crop establishment

Silwet Power can be used to enhance seed germination and emergence by improving soil structure, water retention, and facilitating nutrient availability. It creates an optimal environment for seedling establishment by promoting soil aeration and reducing compaction, resulting in a faster and a more uniform emergence. 

Experimental findings showed that Silwet Power improved the soil water retention capacity, resulting in better emergence and establishment rates of (1) corn (Zea mays) in a relatively dry relative humidity (40% RH), under controlled conditions, as illustrated in Table 1 below; and of (2) peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), under field conditions, as shown in Figure 4.

Table 1: Effect of Silwet Power on the evolution of the emergence rate and plant height of corn (Zea mays) seedlings grown at 40% relative humidity (RH%) at days post sowing (DPS). At the last timing, the total length (cm) was measured (aboveground and root parts together).


Values with the same letter in a column are not significantly different according to the LSD Fisher’s test (P ≤ 0.05).


Figure 4: This example demonstrates the positive impact of Silwet Power on the emergence and establishment of peanut seedlings (Arachis hypogaea) compared to the untreated plot. Silwet Power was applied two days after sowing and plots were then irrigated, with observations conducted 15 days later.

Compatibility with a wide range of microbial pesticides and biofertilizers

Compatibility tests have shown that Silwet Power has no significant effect on the viability (Table 2; Figure 5) or efficacy (Figure 6) of biofertilizers, biostimulants, and microbial pesticides. Silwet Power improves biologicals' adhesion, absorption, distribution, and retention in soil or soil-less substrates (e.g., peat, coir, perlite, rockwool) resulting in better nutrient delivery to plants and greater resilience to both biotic and abiotic stresses. 

Momentive frequently updates its database with compatibility studies on beneficial microbes. Reach out to us for more information on Silwet adjuvant's compatibility and efficacy data with biologicals.

Table 2: Compatibility testing between Silwet Power and various biological products involved monitoring the Biological Index (BI) for fungi, spore germination (Germ.) for endomycorrhiza, and Colony Forming Units (CFU) for bacteria. These assessments determined the compatibility status of Silwet Power with each tested biological product, ranging from compatible (C) to toxic (T).


BI (Biological index) values:  0 to 39 – toxic (T); 40 to 66 – moderately toxic (MT); greater than 66 – compatible (C). CFU (Colony-Forming Unit) values: 0 to 1.1x105 CFU/g – toxic (T); 1.1x105 to 1.1x107 CFU/g – moderately toxic (MT); 1.1x107 to 9.9x109 CFU/g – compatible (C). Germ. (Germination): Germination is measured and compared to a control treatment that was not treated with Silwet adjuvants. Ns represents no significant difference from the control, which translates into compatibility. NB: With the exception of the endomycorrhiza, which was subjected to a concentration of 0.1% v/v, all tests were conducted using Silwet Power at a concentration of 0.05% v/v.


Figure 5: Average (±SE) root length colonization (% RLC) in corn (Zea mays) plants was measured in a non-autoclaved soil-based substrate treated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF; Rhizophagus irregularis and Funneliformis mosseae) alone, Silwet Power (SP) alone, or both (AMF+SP), with untreated plants as the control. The addition of AMF increased % RLC across all treatments, and SP showed no adverse impact on either the added or native population of AMF, as confirmed by statistical analysis (P ≤ 0.05).


Figure 6: This field study demonstrates how Silwet Power improved the efficacy of a biofertilizer, resulting in a twofold increase in soybean (Glycine max) yield. The biofertilizer used contained a variety of mycorrhiza (AMF) species, including Rhizophagus irregularris, Funneliformis mosseae, Glomus aggregatum, and Glomus etunicatum.

Boosting crop yield and optimizing fertilizer use efficiency

Momentive has extensively demonstrated the compatibility and benefits of Silwet Power with biofertilizers, enhancing soil biodiversity and promoting long-term soil health, thereby contributing to sustainable farming operations. Moreover, Silwet Power can also enhance the efficacy of conventional fertilizers (Figure 7) and plant protection products. By improving soil water management, active and nutrient availability, Silwet Power enables plants to reach their full potential, often requiring lower doses of agrochemicals.


Figure 7: Silwet Power boosts onion (Allium cepa) bulb growth when mixed with fertilizer, with visible effects starting at just 5g/kg of fertilizer. The average bulb size was recorded 15 days after treatment application and 45 days after planting.

Explore other Momentive soil adjuvants

In addition to Silwet Power, Momentive offers a diverse range of soil and substrate adjuvants tailored to meet the specific needs of farmers and formulators worldwide. Among the available options, Silwet 408 stands out as a highly versatile liquid trisiloxane (TSA) product. It is notable for being biodegradable (62% after 28 days, OECD 301B) and certified for organic farming by OMRI, Kiwa, and Ecocert. Silwet 408 is widely used in sustainable agriculture and soil water management practices. Its applications range from mitigating drought, floods, and waterlogging, as shown in Figure 8, to reducing soil compaction (Figure 9) in a variety of crops, including turfgrass. It effectively controls dry patches and ensures the even distribution of treatments around the root zone, promoting optimal plant health and productivity. 


Figure 8: When Silwet 408 is applied at a rate of 0.5 mL/m2 to a waterlogged field, it demonstrates a notable decrease in surface water accumulation on the treated plots within 24 hours.


Figure 9: Silwet 408, mixed at 0.1% v/v, when combined with a de-structured and compact silt soil, effectively loosens the soil within 72 hours (tray on the right). NIS is a typical non-ionic surfactant. Please scan the QR code to witness the effect of Silwet on soil structure.

Final remarks

In conclusion, innovative soil adjuvants developed by Momentive, such as Silwet Power and Silwet 408, by improving soil health, promoting plant growth, and maximizing crop yield, serve as invaluable tools for farmers seeking to enhance their regenerative farming practices, playing a vital role in advancing sustainable agriculture. With Momentive's commitment to innovation and sustainability, we are enabling the future of agriculture right now.

To learn more about Silwet Power and Silwet 408 and access their specifications, please scan the QR codes provided below.


To request a free sample of Silwet adjuvants or get any additional information not included in this article, please contact your local Momentive representative, or reach us through commercial.services@momentive.com



[1] https://www.syngentagroup.com/regenerative-agriculture#what-is-regenerative-agriculture


A special thank you to Ruth T. Franklin from the University of York, UK, for her support in generating compatibility data on arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi and substrate moisture data for Momentive. 

This article will be published in AgroPages' upcoming '2024 Formulation&Adjuvant Technology' magazine.

If you'd  like to participate in it to show your insights and solutions or for any promotion demands, please contact Grace Yuan: grace@agropages.com


Source: Momentive


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